Andover controls ball, Division 1 championship

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Speed runs deep in the Andover field hockey program, and in this morning's Division 1 state championship game, Algonquin Regional found itself in store of a huge dosage.

The Golden Warriors dominated possession throughout the morning at Worcester State's Coughlin Field, leading to 18 penalty corners while yielding none to the Tomahawks, as they cruised to a 3-1 victory to capture their first field hockey state title in school history.

"They just wanted it," head coach Maureen Noone said. "They were just going crazy. I think at first, they needed to settle a little bit, and needed to make things happen instead of playing their (Algonquin's) game."

Said junior forward Anne Farnham, who tallied the final two goals of the afternoon, "I'm just amazed right now, just coming here and winning. It's just a sweet victory."

Led by an aggressive midfield in Taylor Farris, Jill Manning (three assists) and Northeastern-bound senior Laura Dimitruk, the Golden Warriors (24-0-0) took it to the defense of the Tomahawks (15-3-4) early and often. Ten minutes in, they notched their first goal of the day on a penalty corner from the right. Manning cradled ball at the top of the circle and slid it across to Dimitruk, who fired from five yards out and hit the middle of the cage.

Liz Holmes came through with an equalizer with 11 minutes to go in the half, crashing to the far post and putting back a Nikki Wrin shot from the right side near the top of the circle. But from therein, the Warriors kicked it into another gear and dominated ball control.

At the eight-minute mark of the half, Farnham made it 2-1 with a one-timer at the far post, off of a penalty corner after Manning rolled the ball across the crease. And in the second half, the speedy Andover forward line forced the Tomahawks to crowd their own half-circle, and only managed to come across into the Andover zone twice. Farnham closed out the scoring with 58 seconds left, tipping in a pass from Manning to make it 3-1.

"We just tried to talk a lot as a team," Manning said. "We tried to communicate with each other, and tell each other what was open, where to go. Basically, we just tell each other alot to communicate."

Not to be overlooked in the defeat, however, was Algonquin's goalie Channing Moreland. The junior plays with an unorthodox sliding style, staying low to the turf, often diving to the turf and laying out across the crease. The style isn't one seen too often by the Warriors, which forced them to take more deliberate shots off the ground.

Moreland was credited with 16 saves in the loss, while Dina Hagigeorges needed just four saves to pick up the win for Andover.

"It was more, we were looking to lift the ball and get it in," Farnham said. "Yeah, she did slide a lot, lie down. But eventually, we got there."